Archive for the 'B-movies' Category

Aug

posted by admin | August 15, 2009 | 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Guest Review, Horror movies

Comments Off on Hobgoblins

Syrin of CinemaLost Highway would like to welcome the Syrin of Cinema, Krysha Syrin as a guest reviewer to Lost Highway. “My attraction to B-movies started merely a year ago, after entering college. After attending what was to later become a weekly movie night at a friend’s house, I realized how much I missed the silver screen. We watched Grindhouse and I was intrigued. I wanted to know the inspiration behind the film, the history of the bygone grindhouse generation. Weeks upon weeks of researching and interviews later led me to the true fans of the trade. Before I knew it, I was grabbing a Netflix subscription, scouring video stores, and getting my hands on all the B-movies and exploitation films I could.

Between attending classes and working towards a degree in Creative Writing, my spare time is spent viewing all sorts of films and trying to entice everyone I know to do the same.” You can check out her website as well as follow her on Twitter.

hobgoblins

At first glance, Hobgoblins appears to be a strange off-shoot of Gremlins. Look again. Hobgoblins is a quirky mix of bad puppetry, bad acting, and an explosion of the 80s crammed into 90 minutes of non sci-fi torture.

The plot, should you ever find yourself forced to scrape one up off the bottom of this barrel, consists of a senile janitor named McCreedy who sends his interns off to their doom by trusting them to follow instructions and not investigate an unlocked, green-glowing vault. His latest janitorial protégé, Kevin, manages to free a “great evil” which McCreedy had tried to warn him about in sentence fragments but failed do to his senility.

Kevin attempts to correct his wrongdoing by wrangling up the Hobgoblin with his ragtag crew. Amy, his girlfriend with exceptionally high morals; Daphne, who thinks “morals” are a brand of condom; Daphne’s boyfriend, Nick, a war vet who probably got discharged for smuggling out grenades; and Kyle, female in-training.

At some point or another, the entire crew falls prey to the Hobgoblins cunning trickery, resulting in their arrival at Club Scum and the inevitable progression of the film further, much to any viewer’s dismay.

– Thugs
– Loose women
– Frigid women
– Spandex pushed to its limits
– Mortal Kombat: Garden tool edition
– Puppet-induced hallucinations
– Flailing
– Van rocking
– Extreme parking
– War flashbacks
– The plot (and let me know if you find it)

2.5 out of 10

Check out the trailer for Hobgoblins

Aug

Comments Off on The Car

The Car

I consider my time as a teenager not too traumatic. I mean it was no Wonder Years though there’s been times where a disembodied voice would annoyingly narrate over me. My teen years just weren’t filled with all that typical drama, angst and teenage rebellion you’d come to expect. I had a few good buddies, couple of ex-girlfriend and enjoyed watching lots of b-movies.

the car

Back then I drove a 1969 Camaro SS that was given to my on 16th birthday (and yes my dad is that rockin’ cool.) I’m not sure why he trusted the car to a 16 year old lead foot who thought “Gone in 60 Seconds” was a drivers education video but I wasn’t going to complain.

The car was a thing of beauty. Daytona yellow with SS striping and a 300 small block v8 that we pulled out of a Monte Carlo just ready to break free from that hood. It had a low 411 gear ready to run a quarter mile in a heartbeat and it would take all your weight resting on that brake pedal just to hold it back at the stop light. It was like a wild animal ready to pounce and rip through any foreign compact that got in it’s way. My buddy and I would go to the cruise in town on Friday nights driving around aimlessly for a few hours, wastin’ gas, loading up on junk food, and occasionally stopping in at the Big Boy’s parking lot. For some reason all the cool kids liked to hang out there. Maybe it was just the siren call of that giant Big Boy statue smiling endlessly onwards mocking us with his dead cold stare taunting us while holding that giant burger. *shivers*

But my car drank gas like a sponge and eventually I had to put it into storage and drive something a bit more practical and a lot less exciting. Sure I drive a mini-van now, but my Camaro is still waiting in an undisclosed location. Patiently looking forward to taking to the streets again and if you listen quietly at night you might still hear that engine purrin’.

the carSpeaking of muscle cars with a mind of their own. “The Car” features an unmarked Lincoln demon car terrorizing a small country town with it’s thirst for blood… unleaded blood of course. The horn blaring hell car bumps off a few bicyclists while barreling down the highway one day, but soon it shows it’s true motives when it makes a human speed bump out of a french horn playin’ hippie and then goes on a hit and run spree with a high school marching band. Yes Satan has a deep hatred of marching band music. This was a bit surprising as I would have thought marching bands greatest hits would be on a continuous loop in Hell’s waiting room.

Some of the survivors take refuge in an old cemetery whose holy ground notoriously protects them from the likes of vampires, werewolves, and more importantly demon cars. The loud mouthed band teacher, Lauren, decides that’s the perfect time to taunt and belittle the unseen driver. I mean really how do you trash talk a car? “Your daddy was an Etzel” “Your momma’s so old she farts dust out her tailpipe.” The whole scene was just unnecessary.

the carMeanwhile, Luaren’s boyfriend Wade (James Brolin) is hanging out at the police station. He’s a divorced father and part time lawman who besides having the unfortunate name of Wade he also sports an epic 70’s mustache. Stache’s like that usually only grow on serial killers or porn stars so props to Wade for making it work.

Wade’s band of emotionally fragile deputies attempt to catch the car but Satan has seen plenty of episodes of Dukes of Hazzard and knows how to outsmart them law folks. The way I figure it this small town consists of about 100 people total so that breaks down to about 40 marching band members, 20 drunken wife beaters, 10 rodeo cowboys and the rest are sheriff deputies. logically, there should’ve been plenty of law enforcement to go around but the car continues bouncing people off it’s bumper like ping pong balls. Even the sheriff gets run down in the middle of main street and Lauren gets offed in her own home like a bug on a windshield. Not so much a drive-by but more of drive-thru kill.

Wade teams up with the town’s reigning wife beatin’ drunk and resident explosive experts (aren’t they usually the same person?) and they plan to lure it to the rock quarry where all made for TV movies go to die. As luck would have it the car can’t be found though and nobody had gotten killed lately but Wade arrives home one night to find the car parked in his very own garage just sitting around mooching a few oil quarts, reading his Motor Trends and puffing out some carbon monoxide. Mustering up a Jackie Chan stunt dive he escapes through the garage window and flees on his jr. dirt bike with the evil car in hot pursuit. With a total disregard to helmet laws he lures it outside town limits for the big demon showdown and pyrotechnic light show spectacular. They could charge admission for fireworks finales like that. Just add some heavy metal music and Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat and you’ve got yourself a show.

the car

This movie had made for TV movie written all over it with very little gore but plenty of melodramatic acting. The main star of course is the car itself. It was designed by the late automobile customizing extraordinaire George Barris. George also designed the original bat mobile, the Munster’s car as well as the sweet ride for The Hoff’ in Knight Rider. Big props to Mr. Barris for making this car a true killer on wheels and making me fear tinted window Lincolns.  Retroman says take a test drive with “The Car”. It’s a hot pocket of car killin’ mayhem with some b-movie cheese inside. But “Caution: Contents may be hot.”

– 1 Lincoln Deathcar with optional truck horn
– 1 James Brolin mustache
– 3 Car crashes with multiple crash and burns
– 1 Motorcycle chase with gratuitous demon explosion
– Extreme off-road biking
– French horn homicide
– Marching band hit and run
– Car door fu
– House drive-thru service
– Rodeo marching band shows

8.4 out of 10

Check out the trailer for The Car

Jul

Comments Off on Chopping Mall

chopping mall

I really hate shopping….no let me rephrase that, I would actually prefer to have my toenails removed with  rusty pliers while rabid raccoons chewed through my stomach lining than go shopping. It’s no secret that dragging me to the mall is akin to taking a 5 year old to a masochistic dentist. It’s always the same, there’s a lot of leg kicking and uncontrollable sobbing until someone gives me a sticker and a toothbrush. It may be the fear of being confined in a small place or feeling woozy from the combined smells of the nail saloon and the nearby roasted almond stand, but I can’t get out of their quick enough. chopping mall
Women on the other hand view the act of shopping as an endurance sports that they need to train for year round constantly perusing all the stores for deals on hundreds of already over priced items. I’d ask me wife as she’s heading out the door “Well what are you getting at the mall?” she’d just wave and reassure me “oh, nothing just looking.” Later she’d return with a truck load of shopping bags full of decoupage and scrap booking supplies and now pulling an additional U-haul trailer filled to the brim with purses and shoes. “Honey, I didn’t have enough room so I had to put some items on layaway.”

When a man goes to the store we get what we need and leave immediately. No standing around, no chit-chat, and avoiding seeing anything we don’t have to. It’s almost the same etiquette for public bathrooms. It’s nice how our Neanderthal brains keep things simple like that. If it wasn’t for the invention of the remote control we’d probably still be hunting out of caves and peeing on shrubs to mark our territory. In the meantime to pay for the wife’s shopping excursions I guess I can always donate some more plasma. I’m sure I can make a good chunk of change before I get woozy and pass out.

Speaking of extreme shopping survival, robot killers are on the loose in the mall and they aren’t there for the sidewalk sales. This is the movie “Paul Bart: Mall Cop” should have been. In fact, I think if you add killer robots to any movie it can increase it’s entertainment value by a factor of 5 or 6 depending on how goofy the robots look. What I wouldn’t have give  to see a cyborg toss Matthew McConaughey into a pool of lava a few times.

In the film Chopping Mall apparently shopping mall crime is rampant across the country. Kids shoplifting banana clips and wayfarer sunglasses at an alarming rate or killing each other in the parking lots over swatch watches and members only jackets. Oh the humanity! So a new line of defense is needed that doesn’t require doughnut breaks. A new line of defense in the form of hi-tech robots stocked with death lasers, c4, torch cutters and Tasers that can take down a horse. Is it even legal to electrocute shoplifters? Sure It seems a bit excessive firepower for mall crimes, but it would be a great deterrent knowing you could have your head blown off at any moment for pocketing that friendship bracelet.

Just as this new security line of roving hi-tech garbage cans is set do go online at midnight, a group of teens decide to hide out and throw a party at a department store to partake in dirty dancing, debauchery and anything else that generally goes on in a Sears Roebuck.Chopping Mall

I was already a bit leary of robots running around a mall with early versions of Windows coursing through their circuits, but then their central computer that was strategically placed on the roof gets zapped by a freak lightening storm. (Always be sure to install lightening rods with your rooftop computer.) The robots circuits get scrambled but instead of doing lame impressions and hanging out Steve Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy they electrocute janitors and hunt down frizzy haired teenagers. See, I already like them better than Wall-e.

The teens are automatically locked in the mall until dawn so it gives them plenty of time to drink Slurpees, eat burritos, and stock up on semi automatics from the local artillery boutique. Some of the others get stuck in the air ducts from eating one too many corn dogs then get the smack down from a few of the bots including a golf cart electrocution and accidental bimbo barbecue. I’m not sure why so many of these kids get so easily wiped out by these hunks of tin since they’re about as intimidating as a busted garbage disposal. B-movie rules still apply though as the nerdy girl and geeky guy become the tag team heroes taking on the killbots with road flares and propane tanks. Suffice to say you should always try to hang close to the nerds to better your chances for survival.

This Roger Corman produced film was directed and written by Jim Wynorski and was first released under the title “Killbots” but bombed at the box office so was quickly re-released as “Chopping Mall” given repeat viewer whiplash. There’s also quite a few cameos included Paul Barel and Mary Woronov of “Rock N’ Roll Highschool” fame as well as Kelli Maroney who is best known for her work in “Night of the Comet” another classic b-movie flick. Also look for a quick cameo from Rodney Eastman of A Nightmare Elm St. fame who plays an uncredited shoplifter. Disappointingly his head was not incinerated by one of the rogue bots but he does drown in his own waterbed in Elm St. 4 so you can always rent that instead. This was a pretty decent b-movie that oozes the 1980’s and may make you second guess your toaster oven. Retroman says check it out and watch out for early mornin’ mall walkers.

– 2 Electrocutions
– 1 Exploding bimbo head
– 1 Flaming Barbara Crampton
– Robot choke hold
– Extreme gum chewing
– Grappling hook impalement
– Mall free form diving
– Propane grenades
– Paint can fu
– Laser fu
– Golf cart robot showdowns

7.9 out of 10

Check out the trailer for Chopping Mall

Jul

posted by admin | July 3, 2009 | 70's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized

Comments Off on Empire of the Ants

In a recent BBC article It’s been discovered that a our littlest friends under our feet, the Argentine ant, is actually part of a vast mega colony that has already colonized much of our planet. Scary? yes… and maybe the largest species that could even rival humans in their population scale but with less strip malls and urban sprawl. These ants were once only native to south America (hence the Brazilian waxed thoraxes) and now cover every continent by hitching a ride on our shoes…well everywhere except ANTartica. They figured with a name like that it was already spoken for. Faced with this news of impeding insect invasion, I just want to take this moment to welcome our benevolent insect overlords and offer my services in managing diabetic worker slaves in the vast sugar factories. Let’s just try to forget my younger years involving a magnifying glass on a sunny day or that ant farm I accidentally flooded with radiator fluid.

empire of the antsSpeaking of mutant ants taking over the world, “Empire of the Ants” leads us to believe that not only can radioactive waste cause insects to grow to the size of Volkswagons but they can also setup thriving sugar based economies, run factories, and managed cheap labor forces. All this in a single day.

Joan Collins takes a break from crappy TV shows to play a unscrupulous land developer, Marilyn Fryser. She’s trying to sell island real estate to clueless Floridians in leisure suits. Little do they know one of the island perks is scenic sunset views of radioactive barrels of toxic waste washing ashore right where the ants like to sunbath. The typical poorly sealed nuclear storage containers start leaking silver paint all over the ants and suddenly BAMMM! gigantus insectus among-us making picnic runs on Marilyn’s clients.

After discovering some dead construction workers covered in Smuckers raspberry jam the remaining customers decide to hightail it outta there as fast as their golf cart tour bus can carry them. Easily exceeding speeds of 10 mph they finally arrive back at the beach to find their tour boat getting antified. Dan, our grizzly faced boat captain swims out to try to save his precious scooner but the ants gives him the smack down. In a Gilligan-esque moment he decides to just to blow up the boat instead. The skipper would be proud. Now trapped on the island, rained on, hungry and without any extra eyeliner for Joan Collins they start to head towards the center of the island in hopes of rescue. The very old and very senile couple trailing the group decides it best to go off on their own hiding out in a dilapidated shack. Their last words would be “don’t worry we’ll be safe in here” proving again that old people are among the first to die in any b-movie.

Empire of the antsThe survivors battling their poor sense of direction take a old boat down the river and run into an ant made baricade and have to battle American Gladiator gauntlet style with giant foam ant heads. The cameraman appears to be in the thick of the action because heck if anyone can tell whose landing any punches with all those styrofoam legs flailing around. The boat sinks and they find a creepy old couple living in a barb wired cottage retreat who take them to town (this island must be huge!) They know something’s strange is happening in hicksville with not a Walmart or PigglyWiggly in sight and bets are someone’s been hoarding all the sugar packs too.

Their suspicions are confirmed when they find the towns folk being rounded up and taken to the gigantic sugar factory outside town which are apparently quite prevalent in the Florida everglades. Inside the factory, people are lining up like it’s a carnival ride to get sprayed with a cloud of ant pheromone from a queen ant crammed into a phone booth. This mind control spray makes the victim do whatever the queen asks of them plus it has the side benefit of the fresh scent of Lysol. It’s pretty much like if they went to a Pink Floyd laser show and got a contact buzz. Thankfully Dan fends of the ants and towns folk with a road flare and his extreme grizzliness then loads up the last of the survivors onto yet another boat ready to get lost again in the swamp. Hey the guy really likes boats can ya dig? I think the factory blew up too at some point but they ran out of budget…it’s mostly implied by a guy driving aimlessly around in a fuel tanker and then there’s a grease fire and some flaming ant footage.

I was surprised at the low level special effects this movie utilized for a 70’s monster film. I’d swear it was a 1950’s sci-fi movie if it wasn’t for the eye piercing leisure suits and feathered hairdos. Lots of split screens between the actors and ants, toy models with ants trying to climb the painted back drop, and styrofoam props make the effects on par with a Gamera film. The most redeeming quality of this movie is seeing Joan Collins impaled by a giant queen ant after getting her brain zapped. “That’s for making us endure Dallas..see ya in hell!”  “Empire of the Ants” is cheesy little b-flick that just goes to show you can make a movie without the need for acting, special effects or even a plot getting in the way.

-Extreme leisure-suits
-Nuclear waste in a can
-Joan Collins fu
-Fraudulent resort tours
-Paddle fu
-Ant smoke contact buzz
-Road flair phone booth attacks
-Giant styrofoam ants
-Exploding sugar shacks
-Kaleidoscope ant vision
-Redneck mind control

I give it a 7.3 out of 10..but that’s only because the ants are watching me… right now….listening to my thoughts.

Check out the trailer for Empire of the Ants

May

Comments Off on Switchblade Sisters

switchblade sisters

“On my planet this shirt attracts the females of my species.”

I’m not what you call a proficient grocery shopper. I don’t stock up on coupons or scan through the Sunday paper looking for the latest deals on canned tuna and toasted Wheat Thins. I only know it’s time to shop when I can no longer make a full meal from the refrigerator’s remaining survivors.. usually some condiments, a jar of olives, and a box of baking soda. So putting on a coat over my PJ’s I’d head out for that late night grocery run.

Late nights food runs you’d often find the store empty of customers so it was difficult to even find a checkout lady to wave me over to her conveyor belt. This time I was forced to confront the newest shopping breakthrough that was the new self checkout machine. Hey I’m a man of the world, a technology connoisseur, I could surely conquer this fancy slot machine wanna-be. First the Cheetos bag wouldn’t scan and when it did, It told me I bought 25 bags worth forever bestowing me the title “the crazy Cheetos guy.” Then placing the items in the bag a condescending computer voice would keep telling me to “Please place the item in the bag”… “Oh you mean the item that’s already in the bag?” The computer didn’t seem to understand any sense of irony. My arms had grown weak from the numerous failed attempts at scanning some cantaloupe and the Fonzi method of banging the machine on the side didn’t seem to help any so eventually a technician had to show me where to put my crinkled dollar bills. Who would have thought groceries need IT support.

I thought technology was supposed to make things easier. When was it decided that “easier” was just do it yourself? Self-serve gas station, ATM banking, and self scanning checkout lines, these are advances in modern convenience? No I want someone else to do this for me because I’m American and laziness is my God given constitutional right. if you’re not going to give me a real person to do the job then at least give me a robot. This 2009 after all, I should have my own jetpack and hover car by now. I shouldn’t be standing in my PJ’s swipping cans of lima beans while a lady in a purple mu mu waits behind me with her big box of glazed chick peas. Next time I will just go when a friendly cashier lady is available that will gladly talk with me about the weather as she scans my groceries while perfectly bagging things so my bread isn’t crushed by the 2 gallon mayonnaise jar and bag of ice (Hey I like potato salad and it was hot that night.)

Do you have tickets to the gun showSpeaking of ladies that excel at their jobs. Switchblade sisters introduces us to a gang of street-wise ladies called the Dagger Debs who’ve made a career at beating up elevator passengers and picking fights at the local Dairy Queen. The Debs are led by Lace, a high-strung snappy dresser who works out her dialog through clenched teeth like she’s got a case of lock jaw. She and her gal pals beat up a helpless landlord, go jay walking,  and then take a break at the ice cream shop. Here they run into a cute blondie named Maggie who is hogging one of their favorite seats. Maggie’s your sorta typical girl next door…if your typical girl is packin’ heat and has inner rage issues. Little do they know she’s the kind of girl that will cut you deep for even looking at her Oreo Blizzard the wrong way so she slices one of the gang members across the face with a knife. The police suddenly show up like a swat team before it can turn really ugly. Apparently a doughnut shop was very close by.

The Debs all end up in a juvenile detention center where some big burly lady wardens try to make the night moves on the new girls but end up getting the snot beat out of them instead. Maggie is finally freed from juvi-jail but has an even worse time on the outside when she’s raped by Lace’s boyfriend Dom. Dom is the leader of another powerful gang called the Silver daggers, a ruthless gang of thugs who resemble the cast from Welcome Back Kotter and enjoy playing billiards between felonies. Lace trusts Maggie and invites her to join the Debs not knowing that her and Dom just did the nasty at her apartment the night before. The resident cyclops “Patch” happily points out that Maggie has to be initiated first before becoming a true Deb and then starts whining about how she “lost her eye for this gang.” But really, how can you take a pirate seriously?

The New Chevy VoltThey send her on a mission to recover a toy prop necklace from a rival gang leader who goes by the unfortunate name of crabs. Great way to impress the ladies when you’re named after a venereal disease. Crab runs a fake community center where they give out narcotics under the disguise as vitamin pills so that he can buy even more hideous shirts for his wardrobe. Maggie stops by at their headquarters and  pretends to be attracted to Mr. Crabs which is probably the most impressive acting you’ll see in the whole film. In the middle of her seduction act she bites him on his Shootzle Deetzle, grabs the necklace and breaks through a office wall like the Koolaid man. Maggie returns to the Debs triumphant with her newly won trophy. Now there’s no questioning Maggie’s loyalty  with her ability to steal novelty prop jewelry.

Later on the Debs and the Daggers are vengefully ambushed by the Crab gang at the local rollerskating rink.  Lace gets punched in the baby maker whose oven was already preheated with Dom’s unborn kid and Dom gets a shotgun blast to the belly by the big Red Lobster himself. Maggie and Lace have to leave him to bleed to death in the center rink while Donna Summers music still blares on… a truly horrifying fate for anyone.

Maggie and Lace decide they want to avenge Dom’s death so they enlist some black power lady militants who drive pimped out armored Cadillacs and get their kicks making white hippies in disco shirts run and scream like little girls. I think that’s something anyone can really enjoy though. But not everything is as it seems there’s plot twists a plenty as jealously and secrets are threatening to destroy the gang. Who set up whom, who had an affair with who…who is loyal to whom. And when should the word whom actually be used in a sentence? It all ends up in a good old dance of death with switchblade divas giving us a great Shakespearean twist to this little exploitation romp.

Tarantino released this as his second film in his Rolling Thunder film series so be sure to check out his intro and outro on the DVD extras. His movie clerk geekiness clearly shows as he talks in great detail about the film and why they changed the name from The Jezebels to Switchblade Sisters. You can tell he was just up late one night at the videostore wired up on Jujubes and diet Coke while watching it. Also Keep an eye out for Don Stark who plays Hook. Yes it’s the same Don Stark that played Bob Picnciotti in that 70’s show and by gosh he still had the same hair and side burns. A great cheesy exploitation film, Retroman says check it out and be sure to be packin some heat.

– Multiple gang shootings
– 1 neck stabbing
– Medallion-fu
– Wacka-chicka-wacka fu
– Welcome Back Kotter doppelgangers
– Dairy Queen Dagger Queens
– Face plunging
– Swirly-fu
– Vita-van vandals
– Cadi-tanks
– Bellybutton ashtrays

Rated 8.9 out of 10

Check out the trailer for Switchblade Sisters

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